Urban Biodiversity, Economics and Ethics

Author: Ulas Basar Gezgin, Istanbul Gelisim University, Turkey
Published: October 2013

Citation: Gezgin, U. B. (2013). Urban Biodiversity, Economics and Ethics. IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion & Philosophy, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijerp.1.1.04


It might be reasonable to make a distinction about cities with regard to biodiversity: There are cities that are green, and there are greens that are urbanized. The former are highly sophisticated cities with strong economic infrastructure. These cities are not happy with the grey buildings and concrete structures, and they hold green campaigns to reproduce biodiversity. There are some other cities that are built in jungles or wetlands. These cities have literally attacked the biodiversity by unplanned encroachment. These are especially common in Southeast Asia where urbanization is relatively young. The sustainability triangle is very well known in urban planning. It points to the conflict that arises from economic, social and environmental perspectives in regard to urbanization. From the economic perspective, the cities are considered to be the engine of growth as they are the seat of industries, service sectors, and ICT companies. Most of the time, the success of a city government is measured by economic performance indicators such as the increase in foreign direct investment or the number of high rises etc. From the social corner of the triangle, rapid urbanization, informal housing in outskirts, grassroots democratization initiatives, crime rates, access to municipal services etc are hot topics. As the cities are growing formally through projects led by the construction sector and informally through the growth of slum dwellers, various ethical dilemmas emerge that pit urbanites against the urban flora and fauna. After presenting some of these ethical dilemmas, this paper proposes an ethical framework for urban biodiversity including Homo sapiens.


urban biodiversity, urbanization, sustainability